Clouds Over the Courthouse

Clouds Over the Courthouse, originally uploaded by tomkellyphoto.

Early mornings in the desert are a special time. What’s even more special is when there’s puffy clouds floating against the blue western sky. Such was the case this past May during the Moab Photo Symposium in Courthouse Wash of Arches National Park.

It was a lazy morning. A day earlier I had driven in the pre-dawn hour to be in place at Mesa Arch. Today was going to be a bit easier. My favorite morning spot in Arches has always been Turret Arch through the North Window. But as I drove up the switchbacks as the pre-dawn light was tickling the sky, I could see I was in for a treat.

The clouds were racing across the sky, high enough to not block the sun as it crept up over the eastern horizon. The speed of the clouds diminished the opportunity for an HDR. But it wasn’t necessary.

As dawn broke, the clouds initially blocked the sun. But it looked hopeful, so I setup. Then – boom – the skies broke, the sunlight painted Courthouse Tower, and the puffy cumulous clouds literally flew across the sky.

No, it’s not an HDR. But the combination of white clouds against a deep blue sky and the brilliant redrock of Courthouse Towers made it a photograph to remember.

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